London (UK): A Russian Soyuz space capsule carrying astronauts Kate Rubins of the United States, Japan’s Takuya Onisihi and Russia’s Anatoly Ivanishin landed in a remote region near Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan on Sunday morning.
Rubins is the first person to sequence DNA in space.
The trio landed south east of the Kazakh steppe town of Zhezkazgan in clear but frosty conditions after a flight from the orbital lab.
“Landing has taken place!” Russian mission control stated, with commentators on NASA TV noting that the Soyuz craft had landed in an upright position, The Guardian reports.
Molecular biologist Rubins and Onishi were both returning from their first missions in space, while flight commander Ivanishin undertook a five-month mission at the ISS five years ago.
“Everybody is feeling wonderful,” said Ivanishin, who emerged first from the craft, in comments translated from Russian.
After they are flown to the Kazakh city of Karaganda, Ivanishin will head to Star City just outside Moscow for post-mission work, while Rubins and Onishi will fly to Houston.
Their journey back to Earth marks their first complete mission to and from the orbital lab for a new generation of Soyuz spacecraft with upgraded features.
The trio’s arrival at the ISS was delayed by two weeks as Russian space officials carried out further software tests on the modified Soyuz MS-01 vehicle.
Rookie Rubins’s participation in the mission generated particular excitement after Nasa announced plans for the career scientist to sequence DNA aboard the ISS in a world first.
In August, Rubins successfully sequenced samples of mouse, virus and bacteria DNA using a device called MinION while Earth-based researchers simultaneously sequenced identical samples.
NASA said the biomolecule sequencer investigation could help to identify potentially dangerous microbes aboard the ISS and diagnose illnesses in space.(ANI)